Isanti Soil & Water Conservation District

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Isanti SWCD

Serving the residents and conserving our natural resources

The Mission of the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District is to provide technical, financial and educational resources in order to implement practices and projects that preserve, protect and enhance water quality, soil, and other natural resources.
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New Cover Crop Program

We are excited to announce our new Cover Crop Program! Cover crops have been scientifically proven to improve the health of your soil. For more information or to sign up for the program please contact Matthew Remer at mremer@isantiswcd.org or 763-689-3271.

COVID-19 & SWCD Operations

COVID-19 Update:

In an effort to protect the health of our staff and community, all staff are currently working remotely.

You can reach us by:

  • Calling our office at: 763-689-3271, all calls are being forwarded to staff cell phones.  If you leave a message but do not receive a response please call back or send an email.  
  • Emailing staff, we can access email remotely but there may be a lag in response time - Staff Directory.

We will do our best to return your message in a timely manner and look forward to working with you face-to-face in the near future!

St. Croix Watershed Protection Program

The Minnesota Land Trust and the St. Croix River Association are looking for willing landowners to participate in the St. Croix Watershed Protection Program, a conservation initiative to permanently protect high quality habitat complexes in Minnesota.

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Congratulations!

Elmstrands Recognized for Outstanding Work in Conservation

Congratulations to Rod and Sara Elmstrand, recipients of the 2019 Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District’s Outstanding Conservationist Award. The Elmstrands will be recognized at the Outstanding Conservationist luncheon held in conjunction with the MN Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) 2019 Annual Convention on Tuesday December 10th. Each year the Isanti SWCD recognizes individuals and/or organizations for outstanding accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota’s natural resources.

The Elmstrand farm has been in the family since 1934; although, it wasn’t until 1981 that Rod’s Berry Farm was established. Since that time, with the help of his wife Sara and his five children Becky, Tricia, Mary, Erik and Paul, the Elmstrand’s have continued to expand their business. Presently, they grow and market strawberries, blueberries and pumpkins. In addition, they grow a diverse crop rotation of other crops including corn, soybeans, hay, small grains and a variety of cover crops.

The Elmstrand’s are continually seeking ways to improve productivity while also improving soil health, protecting groundwater and reducing pollution into nearby lakes and streams. Some of the ways they have done this include:

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Conservation Opportunity

Buffers

In Barry Springborn’s front yard, prairie grasses and flowers buzz with pollinators. The driveway on this family farm outside Cambridge in Isanti County is lined with blooming partridge pea. Bumblebees feed on the yellow flowers. Song sparrows sing from the tall grasses swaying in the wind. Sandhill cranes fly overhead. Trumpeter swans appear on the far edge of Johnny’s Lake. The Springborn farm is perched above the small, shallow lake. Recently installed buffers will protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat.

Springborn raises beef cattle and corn. In 2017, he planted a buffer adjacent to Johnny’s Lake with a pollinator seed mix in accordance with Minnesota’s riparian buffer law.

“When the buffer strip requirement came along, at first I was confused. I had some conversations with staff from the Isanti Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), and they helped me get in touch with students at Anoka-Ramsey Community College that were conducting a pollinator study. The college supplied the pollinator flower seed, and I contacted a private vendor to get a native grass mix that would work with the flower mix,” Springborn said.

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Riparian Protection

Rum River Habitat and Floodwater Protection

Do you love fishing the Rum River? Do you live along or near the Rum River south of Grandy? If you answered yes to either of these questions you will be interested and excited to learn about this project!

Construction is currently underway to restore flow to a one-mile segment of the Rum River that was abandoned due to a man-made diversion dug over 50 years ago. Due to increased rain events over the last 20 years, the diversion began causing a number of problems including the disconnection of the river from its floodplain (this can result in increased flooding to downstream communities) and widening of the river upstream (this can result in erosion of the streambanks and loss of fish habitat).

To resolve the problems, the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District (ISWCD) secured a $250,000 grant from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment and funding from The Nature Conservancy to hire Minnesota Native Landscapes to fill the diversion and redirect flow into the abandoned river channel. The project is currently underway and is slated for completion late March 2019.

If you are interested in learning more about the project, or seeing the completed project, consider taking a canoe trip down the Rum River this summer (access the river from Co. Rd. 14). OR, contact Tiffany Determan, Isanti SWCD @ 763-689-3271

Isanti SWCD Calendar

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Isanti SWCD Newsletter

For the latest happening at the Isanti SCWD, please view or download our newsletter.

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2019 Annual Highlights

2019 was a busy year for Isanti SWCD. Click here to read all about our most recent Conservation programs and priorities. We would like to send out a special thank you to all our Federal,monitoring culvert sm State, and Local partners who support our mission to preserve, protect and enhance water quality, soil, and other natural resources in Isanti County. We’re already planning great things for 2020 including targeted agricultural outreach, lakeshore restorations on Green Lake, and conservation planning in the Lower St. Croix Watershed.

Flood Forecasting for the Rum River

In response to a request from eight local government units, the National Weather Service (NWS) will begin flood forecasting for lower segments of the Rum River. Until now, there is no flood forecasting for the Rum River. River level forecasting will begin in 2020 whenever the river is approaching critical elevations. Forecasts are provided as a graph of past, current and forecasted future water levels relative to critical elevations for homes and infrastructure.

The forecasts will be directly applicable to the Rum River within Anoka County while providing general guidance to other communities upstream. Forecasting relies upon automated stations that track river water levels and volumes continuously. The station in Anoka County has 86 years of that water data and there are upstream monitoring stations help calculate flood forecasts at that location. Three river monitoring stations in Isanti and Mille Lacs Counties measure water level only, not volume, and cannot be forecasted yet.

For more details, please click here.

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    Oak wilt, caused by the non-native fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, is responsible for killing large numbers of oak trees annually in Minnesota. Oak Wilt is most severe in red oak group species such as Northern Red Oak and Northern Pin Oak. The Isanti County Parks Department has put together this brochure as a guide for managing Oak wilt: Oak Wilt in Isanti County To learn more and see good photos of diseased trees, you can also visit the U of M Residents can call the SWCD and the Isanti County Parks Department for names of contractors who can help with trees and root trenching on your property.
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    The Isanti SWCD rents a seed drill suitable for planting native grasses and wildflowers. Cost is $12/acre. Rental must be within 20 miles of the City of Isanti. Rental has a $150 minimum fee within Isanti County. Rental minimum outside of Isanti county is $250. A $161.81 damage deposit is required at the time of rental. For safety reasons, we ask that you don't drive over 20 mph while towing the seeder. Call Matthew Remer at 763-689-3271 to schedule.
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    The Isanti SWCD can help you with conservation efforts on your property with guidance and financial assistance.We are here for your questions and to help.
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    Enhance your property with trees that are especially suited to your property. Container, bare root and seedlings are all available through the Isanti SWCD. The Isanti SWCD tree sale is now open for all your landscaping and conservation needs.